Jan 29, 2014 05:03PM
By Scott Chase
Visiting the galleries of Rock Hard Design in Pensacola and Grayton Beach has been compared to visiting the best art museums and galleries in the world. That’s a rare compliment for fine jewelry, which is seldom elevated to the level of fine art. But it’s not surprising when you know the provenance of the work.
The eponymous designer of the pieces has been creating award-winning jewelry since 1974. Rocky Hard’s gems and designs are known around the world and valued for the quality of the gems as well as the vision of the designs.
“We have the largest collection of flawless diamonds in the world right now,” Rocky Hard tells us with gentle pride. “I get them from the top precision cutter in the world, S. Muller & Sons, our partner out of Antwerp, Belgium. And all the gems are ethically sourced.”
That last point is particularly important to Hard, as anyone who knows the story behind blood diamonds can understand. They are called blood diamonds because native war lords force people to mine the gems, which are sold black market, and the profits fund genocidal activities.
“S. Muller is the top diamond mine owning family in the world,” Hard continues, “and even during the war in Sierra Leone (the plot of the movie Blood Diamonds) they ceded their land just to the free miners.”
Not only does Hard know the exact mine from which his gems come, but if it’s a larger stone he says he can get the provenance all the way back to the miner who found it and handed it to the foreman. “I have been able to tell people to whom I've sold a flawless diamond the whole history, including the miner’s name.”
Who benefits from such a find? Hard assures us that, “If a miner finds an extraordinary stone you can bet he gets an added benefit or bonus.”
There are currently some 40 flawless stones in Rock Hard’s inventory, all ethically sourced. Stop by the store on North Palafox Street and he will be happy to tell you how he knows they are all the result of sound, ethical mining practices.
Location: 16 N. Palafox St, Pensacola. 100 E Co. Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach. For more information, call 850-438-5119 or visit RockHardDesigns.com.